Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Strange days in the Middle East

Apparently Dick Cheney's trip to Egypt hasn't gone too well.

For one thing, Mubarak is upset about the Bush Administration's move to cut off the multimillion dollar grant paying for Egypt's security operations in the Gaza Strip and the Gazan-Egyptian border. Considering that Egypt ignored those arrangements and the Palestinians had a free hand to move terrorists and heavy weapons over the border, it's certainly justified. Cairo did nothing to earn that money.

Mubarak apparently told Cheney that if the money is not forthcoming, they are pulling their troops out. These are the same troops deployed late last year under Egyptian-Israeli military protocols signed to enable Israeli’s military exit from Gaza, the Rafah border terminal and the Philadelphi border enclave. We all know how well THAT worked!

Cheney ought to know that with the Arab world, it's `no baksheesh, no nothing'..

Mubarak, along with the Saudis is also upset at Washington's attitude towards the Iranians, believe it or not. The Saudis' foreign minister made a point of saying that the Saudi government was `against more nuclear weapons in the region' but said something different to Washington covertly.

Mubarak in particular is said to have accused the West of turning a blind eye to Israel’s atomic program while making a fuss about Iran and raised that issue with Cheney.

Apparently `our friends the Egyptians' to quote Dubbya, ain't feeling so friendly anymore. Maybe the showing the Muslim Brotherhood made in the recent `elections' had an impact on Mubarak.

Meanwhile, interim Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert went public and said in no uncertain terms that Israel will not tolerate enemies controlling weapons of mass destruction that threaten its existence.

With the West uncertain about how to deal with Iran, it may be up to Israel to deal with the menace as best it can..and worry about the diplomatic fallout later.

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